If the weather forecast for the southern Illinois farm of my youth promised three or four cold and clear days in early February, the work forecast promised three or four days of hot and heavy hog butchering.
For nearly a decade, the Packers and Stockyards Administration, the USDA watchdog to ensure competitive, fair livestock markets, has been little more than a sleeping dog, according to a devastating, 36-page report released by USDA’s Office of Inspector General Jan.
When it comes to international bribery and illegal kickbacks, Australia’s inquiry of its state-sanctioned wheat exporter’s, AWB, sleazy dealings with Saddam Hussein-led Iraq is giving an all new meaning to the nation’s clever Down Under nickname.
A decade ago, the most dangerous place to be in Washington was between then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and a television camera.
Under the pile of wrapping paper left from the holidays and newspapers left from 2005 lurks some not-so-fun, 2006 items for the nation, farmers and ranchers.
From the high, clear-view perch of the new year, certain facts and events of 2006 are already visible.
(Author’s note: The following column was first published the week of Christmas 1994. Now, by tradition, it returns.
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House nothing was stirring but Rep. Tom “T-Bone” Maxilla.
Despite overt hints to Santa’s elves that I own enough dress shirts and too many ties for someone who works at home, chances are nearly 100 percent that a swell new shirt and a very understated tie are in my immediate future.
If the dullest knife causes the deepest wounds, the Bush administration should stock up on gauze and duct tape as it takes its traveling trade show to Hong Kong’s World Trade Organization Ministerial Dec.
Rare is the day when either an editor or several readers do not call or e-mail to note the heavy population of facts residing in this space.
With the Irish clan and the Germanic horde again descending on our home this Thanksgiving, the week preceding their arrival threatens more action than the following week’s three-day, four-night holiday cruise on the SS Club Guebert.
In the big, slow move this past summer from the big, painted house in town, my worn copy of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac went missing.
If you’re a conventional farm policy person – as most farm leaders and members of Congress are – Daryll Ray is becoming your biggest pain in the neck.
If a few American dairy processors have their way with the agbiz-pliant U.S. Department of Agriculture, American consumers will be buying milk, cheese and other dairy products altered with items not approved as food ingredients by the Food and Drug Administration.
After a few tough months at home – falling poll numbers, staying at Rancho del Lazio while New Orleans flooded, Harriet “Who?” Miers – the Bush Administration sought to get its mojo working again by dropping an agricultural trade bomb in Geneva Oct.
When word leaked Sept. 15 that the USDA planned to close more than 700 of it 2,353 Farm Service Agency offices around the country, reaction among Capitol Hill aggies was swift and mostly unkind.
Since early spring, Republican aggies in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have warned their farm and ranch constituents that farm program spending will be cut $3 billion over five years, beginning with the 2006 federal budget.
Of all the lessons beaten into America by crashing Katrina, one of the biggest is that the nation’s energy policy, past as well as present, is an absolute scandal.
More than most months, September delivers farmers key numbers – yield per acre, weaning weight, price per pound or bushel – they will live with for the coming months.